Responsive polymers and copolymers

The pursuit of advanced systems for administering biologically active agents in disease treatments holds promise for improving therapeutic outcomes. Overcoming the challenge of developing precise and efficient transport and dosing systems, wherein the release of an active agent can be triggered on-demand, has led to the exploration of amphiphilic block copolymer nanoparticles, as a promising nanocarriers.

This approach critically depends on gaining access to functional macromolecules with a precisely defined architecture and self-assembly properties at the nanoscale, also being biocompatible and preferable degradable. In our research group, we employ a combination of controlled polymerizations and click chemistries to engineer block copolymers featuring diverse architectures, such as linear, dendritic, or star-shaped macromolecules integrating stimuli-sensitive units to impart responsiveness.

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By integrating these synthetic tools with diverse processing techniques, including nanoprecipitation, microfluidics or polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA), we have successfully developed micellar nanoparticles and vesicles as vector for controlled drug delivery (e.g. camptothecin, paclitaxel or naproxen) and photothermal therapy. Our active involvement extends to the development of stimuli-responsive nanocarriers utilizing light and temperature to trigger the release of cargoes. We are exploring the potential of using photothermal transducers capable of converting near-infrared (NIR) radiation into heat to increase the local temperature of the nanocarriers, thereby triggering the precise and localized release of the payload. The achievement of photo-thermoresponsive nanocarriers might also lead to enhanced therapeutic activity by synergistically combining pharmacotherapy and hyperthermia.


Involved researchers: Milagros Piñol (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Luis Oriol, Sara Bescós, Javier Martín, Miriam Abad.

Key recent publications:

Polym. Chem. 2023, 14, 71-80.

J. Microencapsul. 2022, 39, 276-287.

Eur. Polym. J. 2020, 126, 109561.

Polymers 2019 11, 2060.